What You Should Know:
- Quest Diagnostics has reached an agreement to acquire Haystack Oncology an early-stage oncology company focused on minimal residual disease (MRD) testing to aid in the early, accurate detection of residual or recurring cancer and better inform therapy decisions
- Under the terms of the agreement, Quest will pay $300 million in cash at closing, net of cash acquired, and up to an additional $150 million on achieving future performance milestones.
- The acquisition will leverage Quest’s expertise and scale in oncology, genomics and pathology. Quest employs approximately 400 pathologists through its AmeriPath specialty pathology-diagnostics business and provides approximately 7,000 patient access points in the United States for blood and other specimen collection.
Adding Sensitive Liquid Biopsy Technology for Improving Personalized Cancer Care to Oncology Portfolio
MRD testing is a fast-growing category of liquid biopsy tests that identify circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in the bloodstream of patients following surgery and treatment for cancer. Founded in 2021, Haystack has developed a ctDNA-based technology specifically for MRD detection, based on 20 years of research and development by world-renowned luminaries from Johns Hopkins University, including Drs. Bert Vogelstein, Ken Kinzler and Nick Papadopoulos. In a prospective, multi-institution study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in June 2022, an earlier version of the Haystack technology demonstrated the ability to better identify patients with residual disease for adjuvant chemotherapy after surgery for stage II colon cancer, thereby reducing chemotherapy use in the overall patient population without compromising recurrence-free survival.
Following the close of the acquisition, Quest expects to adapt the MRD test developed at Haystack as the basis for new clinical lab services available beginning in 2024. Development efforts will focus initially on MRD tests for colorectal, breast and lung cancers.
“Combining Haystack with Quest is a major step forward in translating two decades of world-class liquid biopsy research and development into clinical laboratory services that are highly reliable and broadly accessible. Like looking for a needle in a haystack, accurately detecting MRD has been very challenging to date,” said Dan Edelstein, CEO and President, Haystack. “With Quest, we expect to increase and accelerate access to important tests that will improve the quality of cancer MRD detection and recurrence monitoring for patients. Working together, we have the potential to greatly transform the patient journey and save lives.”